The main object of this article is an integral element of oral discourse – pragmatic markers (PM). Such functional units are practically devoid of their lexical, and often grammatical meaning, however, they perform well-defined functions in speech: hesitative (
Keywords: Functional aspectoral speechpragmatic markerspeech corpusstructural aspect
Essential elements of any oral discourse, no matter what language is used, are such specific functional units, which have no direct connection with the content of speech, but necessary for the speaker during the speech under a time crunch, when speaker have to think and speak simultaneously. These units help speaker to build / streamline the text and overcome difficulties related to the spontaneous speech generation (hitches, slips of the tongue, etc.). Using them speaker establish and then maintain contact with the interlocutor and respond to their speech activity: reflect, comment, evaluate, cf.: Rus.
DMs are ordinary linguistic units that potentially passed the grammaticalization process , as a result of which, for example, verb forms are separated from the general paradigm and begin to be used as introductory words and collocations (
Traditionally, for such units, practically devoid of both lexical and grammatical meanings, in linguistics, terms with a very negative connotation are used: “parasite words” (Daragan, 2000; Razlogova, 2003; Shmelev, 2004), “superfluous words” (Sirotinina, 1974), “empty lexemes / particles” (Rozanova, 1983), etc., however, “in all such cases, the semantic emptiness of the linguistic expression is imaginary in some sense, because it is filled with rich pragmatic content” (Shmelev, 2018); meaning is replaced by a function; as a result, such words become an integral part of oral speech, ensuring the success of communication. Studies have shown that without these units the listener perceives the text as artificial (Riekhakainen, 2016), and their usage suggests that they are a kind of regulators of communication, in one way or another influencing the perception of the statement by the interlocutor.
The importance of pragmatic markers for both the speaker and the success of the process of oral communication makes their description relevant and necessary for a variety of purposes. Including their description from the structural side, to which this article is devoted.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to describe the different structural types of basic PM, taking into account the functions that they perform in oral discourse. The presence of such data can make the description of the pragmatic markers of Russian spoken language more complete and suitable for use for various applied purposes, such as automatic processing of sounding speech, the practice of translating or teaching Russian as a foreign language.
The main source of the material for the study was two oral corpora created at St. Petersburg State University: the corpus of everyday Russian speech “One Day of Speech” (ORD), compiled with the method of long-lasting oral speech monitoring (dialogs / polylogues, more than 1250 hours of sound, 130 informants and more than 1000 of their communicants, 1 million word forms in transcripts) (see recent works on it: (Bogdanova-Beglarian, 2016; Bogdanova-Beglarian et al., 2016) and “Balanced Annotated Text Library” (SAT) (800 monologues of various types, about 50 hours of sound) (Bogdanova-Beglarian, 2013).
The speech corpus, by definition, should contain not only a certain array of texts, but also their annotation (Gries, & Berez, 2017; Plungjan, 2008; Zakharov, 2005). Both corpora used in the work are partially annotated. The volume of annotated sub-corpora is 21 504 tokens for the ORD corpus and 50 128 tokens for SAT. In particular, pragmatic markers were annotated in both cases, making up a significant proportion of their structural elements: 2.77 % in the material as a whole, 2.83 and 2.57 % separately in dialogue (ORD) and monologue (SAT) (Bogdanova-Beglarian et al., 2019).
An annotation of pragmatic markers in the corpus material allowed us to create the typology of PMs models (their basic options, which are opposed by contextual variants with various extensions:
In total, 59 basic PMs were revealed in the annotated sub-corpora based on the ORD, and 28 PMs in the SAT sub-corpora. Markers in both cases are repeated (28 units from SAT are completely included in the PMs vocabulary from the ORD-corpus), and the “top” of the frequency dictionaries of the implemented PMs variants in both cases looks similar:
First of all, PMs can have single-word form and multi-word form. In the ORD-corpus they are distributed approximately equally (50.9 and 49.2 %, respectively); in the SAT-corpus, there were slightly more single-word ones (57.1 and 42.9 %).
Single-word PMs were divided into three types:
1) initial unchanging forms (which came to the PMs from adverbs or particles, the result of pragmaticalization only):
2) frozen and also unchanging forms (former names and verbs, the result of grammaticalization first, and then pragmaticalization processes);
3) partially mutable forms (also former names and verbs that have retained the “truncated” grammatical paradigm, the result of pragmaticalization only):
In the monologue, the single-word PMs of the second type clearly prevails (50.0 % of the total number), in the dialogue (although not so explicit) the third-type PMs(43.3 vs. 26.7 and 30.0 %), mainly metacommunicative (
Multi-word PMs are divided into groups differently than single-word PMs:
1) the original multi-word units, both mutable (
2) unchanging combinations-contaminations, often reduplicated:
3) the original immutable collocation:
4) frozen and already unchanging collocation or elliptic predicative units:
5) partially mutable collocation or elliptic predicative units:
Most often, the last two types (4-5) (24.1 %) met in the ORD-corpus; the last type (5) (33.3 %) in the SAT-corpus.
The difference between the dialogue and the monologue is associated more with the functional rather than the structural characteristics of the PMs: there is a predominance of metacommunicatives and xenomarkers in the dialogue, where the interaction of communicants plays a large role, and differentiating (starting, navigation and final) PMs in the monologue, where it is important for the speaker somehow structure the text, mark its borders.
Particularly noteworthy are also ways to expand the basic options for PMs: cf.: VOT –
The article presents the results of a structural-functional description of pragmatic markers obtained on corpus material, both dialogical (ORD corpus) and monological (SAT corpus). This data can make the description of the PM of Russian spoken language more complex and suitable in different applied purposes, such natural language processing, machine translation or teaching Russian as a foreign language.
The presented research was supported by the Russian Science Foundation, project #18-18-00242 “Pragmatic Markers in Russian Everyday Speech”.
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27 May 2021
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Bogdanova-Beglarian, N. (2021). Pragmatic Markers Of Russian Oral Speech: Structural And Functional Aspect. In E. V. Toropova, E. F. Zhukova, S. A. Malenko, T. L. Kaminskaya, N. V. Salonikov, V. I. Makarov, A. V. Batulina, M. V. Zvyaglova, O. A. Fikhtner, & A. M. Grinev (Eds.), Man, Society, Communication, vol 108. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 52-57). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.02.7